This is a wee story that I put together as a writing model for a first year class in high school. I had been reading some of Kipling’s “Just So” stories and wanted to do something with sound for reading aloud and with imagery to develop character.
Charley Cat is a beautiful cat. A handsome pure-bred rag-doll with soft white fur just edged with golden tinges and deep mysterious blue eyes- like a clear sky above fresh snow.
Now rag-doll cats are bred to be placid and calm and steady. They love to be picked up and patted. They love to be sat safe and warm on the laps of their owners. They love to casually groom their silky fur with luxurious strokes of their long pink tongue.
However, dear reader, someone, somewhere, somehow forgot to tell Charley Cat his job description.
Actually, that isn’t exactly right because, if truth be told, Charley was all of the things mentioned above. He would purr and croon and stretch when his human patted him. He would roll on his back like a playful kitten and tilt his head to the side and extend his whole self like an ecstatic elastic.
He would bite and scratch and nip and race around the room. He would crash into the dark places behind the dusty furniture and wait and watch with those winter-blue eyes. And then explode out, a furry snowball with terrible sharp teeth, whizzing vicious claws and a fizzing, hissing snarl in his throat.
His human was perplexed by this ingratitude and felt that being attacked by a malevolent cat creature was really not how the relationship should develop. The human, who was an affectionate and kindly soul, fed the cat, brushed the cat and even cleaned out the smelly mess left in the litter box. The poor human bought many colourful toys and treats for Charley: bells and balls and even peacock feathers- all glittering green and purple just for him to chase.
And the poor human’s reward?
Her fingers were bitten to the bone, her hands were scribbled in a crazy mess of cat-scratches, her ankles were nipped until she felt that this supposedly peaceable feline had been mixed with a surviving sabre tooth tiger or some other ancient and savage presence from the darkest, densest and most dangerous of jungles or wild forests.
Charley Cat was put in a box and taken to see the cat doctor. After Charley had tasted the flesh and bone of the cat-doctor- who had just completed cat-doctor school- the young man wisely declared that this was just a phase. Charley would grow out of this behaviour. Yes, It was simply a phase. He would stop it in good time as he became a grown up cat.
So, Charley Cat went on growing up. He grew to an agreeable large size. Indeed, he could be mistaken for a fair sized dog such was his presence.
Then Charley Cat learned to leap higher and higher. From a standing start he would bunch his long legs and stretchy muscles and spring higher and higher still. His poor human, who still loved him dearly, learned to fear these movements and it seemed that he was aiming for her face and throat. This was definitely not how she imagined life with Charley.
“No Charley! NO!” the human would shout as he leaped towards her.
“Ouch Charley! OUCH!” as his needle sharp claws caught her skin. “That’s it young cat. You’re going to be pie filling if you keep that up” said the human. But although she was sorely tried the human would be sad to lose the cat.
“That’s it Charley-boy, I’m giving you one last chance. It’s the cat-psychologist for you! She will look into your mind and tell me if you are mad or just plain bad” said the frankly rather exasperated human.
The cat-psychologist tried to show Charley some pictures of mice. He bit them
The cat-psychologist tried to show Charley sparkly new toys on a long wand. He caught the toy on the end and tore it into tiny pieces.
She tried to hypnotise Charley but those winter-blue eyes just stared and blinked and blinked and stared. He seemed to be telling her to stop all of her nonsense.
Then Charley bit the cat-psychologist.
“Ouch, you little monster!” squealed the cat psychologist.
Charley’s human sniffed and even shed a small tear. Charley didn’t know it, but this was his last chance. She made some peppermint tea for the psychologist and remembered that she had to collect the washing from the line in the garden. The human turned to the back door and opened it, just a crack, and then remembered to take the tea to the psychologist. It just wasn’t working out.
Charley would have to go!
The psychologist nodded sympathetically and sipped at her cup of tea. Charley would need a new home. The cat-box was brought out and they whispered their plans. But where was Charley?
He was nowhere to be seen. He had disappeared as swiftly as a swirly puff of smoke on the wind. The psychologist sipped her tea and said maybe it was for the best. She was secretly upset that Charley had not responded to her scientific efforts and that he had dared to bite her.
But Charley’s human was upset. The thought of Charley out in the wild world outside upset her. Charley had always been a house cat. How could he possibly cope with the dangers out there: the barking dogs, the snapping foxes, the rushing traffic?
The human worried and wept and wept and worried some more and then she sat slumped on the sofa and her head slouched onto her chest. The human had fallen asleep.
She awoke with a start and there was Charley, curled into a soft sleepy circle on her lap. How long had the human been asleep? She did not know but Charley seemed very calm and very happy. She wriggled out from under him but he didn’t bite, he just stretched and yawned.
He appeared to be be a very good cat indeed. Inside the house he remained a very good cat indeed. But outside…
…he hissed at the barking dogs until they put their tails between their legs and skulked off. He danced crazy circles round the snapping foxes until they were so dizzy that they fell over. What is more he learned to ride the rushing traffic.
Outside he was a very bad cat indeed but in his soft warm home he would stretch and yawn and snooze and for this his dear human was very glad.